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Saturday, 23 December 2017 19:06

Death penalty for perpetrators of crimes against people with albinism - Committee

Written by  Tione Andsen
Dr Ntaba with APAM Officials addresses the press in Lilongwe on Friday - Pic by Abel Ikiloni Dr Ntaba with APAM Officials addresses the press in Lilongwe on Friday - Pic by Abel Ikiloni

Lilongwe, December 23, 2017: National Technical Committee on Abuse of Persons with Albinism in Malawi asked the courts to consider passing death or life sentences to offenders involved in murdering people with albinism as one way of deterring would be criminals.

Chairperson for the committee Dr. Hetherwick Ntaba made the request Friday during a press briefing at Central Office of information (COI) in Lilongwe.

Dr. Ntaba observed that innocent people with albinism are being murdered in the country but the perpetrators are handed lenient sentences not equivalent to their barbaric acts.

“We want the courts to pass stiffer punishments or even death sentences to those that are found guilty of such cases. This will help the country to reduce the killings of people with albinism,” Ntaba said

He reminded the nation that laws on death and life sentences are there but some donor partners are against their implementation arguing that they are a violation of human rights.

“I was part of the team that drafted the country’s constitution whereby the majority of Malawians were in favour of retaining the death penalty in our laws,” Ntaba said.

However, Ntaba applauded the progress made in prosecuting such cases with speed and efficiency.

He attributed this development to proper coordination and unity among the office of Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Judiciary and the Police.

According to Ntaba, such a working relationship among these bodies has necessitated speedy delivery of justice in cases involving violation of rights for people with albinism.

“We can confirm that cases of this nature are now being handled by professional magistrates or high courts for proper prosecution and sentencing.

As of now, the office of the DPP with support from the UNDP is in the process of prosecuting 13 non-murder cases involving persons with albinism in court,” he said.

President for the Association of People with Albinism in Malawi (APAM) Overtone Kondowe commended the Police for stepping up security in the country to protect people living with albinism.
He cited the formation of community policing forums as a good move in checking and protecting people with albinism within their locality.

“We view this as a positive initiative in minimizing cases of attacks and abduction for people with albinism,” Kondowe said.

The country has registered 122 cases since 2013 in which 412 cases have concluded with 25 murder cases still to be finalized.

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